Real name: Embeth Davidtz
Birthdate: January 1, 1966
Partner: Jason Sloane
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Davidtz was born in Lafayette, Indiana while her South African father was studying chemical engineering at Purdue University. Her parents, John and Jean, later moved to Trenton, New Jersey and then back to South Africa when Davidtz was nine years old. There, her father took up a teaching post at Potchefstroom University. She graduated from The Glen High School in Pretoria in 1983, and earned a degree (cum laude) in Drama & English Literature from Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
Davidtz made her professional acting debut at age 21 with CAPAB (Cape Performing Arts Board now known as Artscape) in Cape Town, playing "Juliet" in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet, at the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre. Performing in English and Afrikaans, the bilingual actress also starred other local plays, including Stille Nag (Silent Night) and A Chain of Voices, both for which she was nominated for the South African equivalent of the Tony Award.
Her film debut came in 1988 when she starred in the South African-filmed, American horror film, Mutator, and shortly after won a major role in the politically sensitive South African made-for-television film A Private Life, as the daughter of an interracial couple. She garnered a South African equivalent of an Oscar nomination playing a rape victim who becomes deaf and mute, in the psychologically intense Afrikaans feature film, Nag van die 19de (Night of the 19th) in 1992.
Though she would later admit to being unhappy with the project, Davidtz had a high-profile leading role in the fact-based film Murder in the First (1995) but better displayed her versatility in the Merchant Ivory production Feast of July (also 1995); she garnered glowing critical praise for her deft portrayal of a young woman who, in searching for the lover who abandoned her, ultimately brings tragedy to the family that offered her refuge.
More redeeming was her character in Matilda (1996), a feature based on Roald Dahl's children's fantasy. Here she played the role of the aptly-named Miss Honey, a sweet, warm-hearted teacher who brings out the best in the neglected girl genius.
A supporting role in the film adaptation of Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) saw Davidtz play a haughty villain for a change, while she proved even greater adaptability that year as she began her run on the CBS drama Citizen Baines, playing the daughter of a defeated United States Senate incumbent (James Cromwell) who is herself leaning towards a career in politics. Mixing up period dramas in 1999's Wayward Son and the 2001-lensed Secret Passage with horror thrillers like 2001's Thir13en Ghosts, Davidtz emerged as a skilled performer with varied and versatile strengths. In 2002, she was then cast in the Michael Hoffman drama, The Emperor's Club, a movie which co-starred Kevin Kline as a professor and Emile Hirsch as a headstrong student.
Davidtz guest-starred on the hit ABC drama series "Grey's Anatomy" as Dr. Derek Shepherd's sister Nancy in Season 3 Episode 6 "Let the Angels Commit".